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Ancestral Trauma Healing: Unraveling the Patterns of the Nervous System

The nervous system is designed to recognize and repeat patterns – a evolutionary adaptation that has allowed us to navigate the challenges of the past and thrive in the present. However, the same propensity for pattern recognition can also play a significant role in the transmission of ancestral trauma.


Ancestral trauma is the emotional and psychological patterns passed down through generations, through the nervous system. The experiences of our ancestors, whether they be traumatic events, chronic stress, or societal oppression, can become imprinted in the very fabric of our energy field and nervous system, manifesting in our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.


For example, consider a family whose ancestors experienced the horrors of war. The traumatic memories and survival responses of those who lived through the conflict may have been passed down through the generations, causing the descendants to become hypervigilant, prone to anxiety, and quick to react to perceived threats, even in the absence of real danger.


Another example is the intergenerational transmission of trauma within indigenous communities that have been subjected to the devastating effects of colonization, cultural erasure, and forced assimilation.


The loss of native land, language and traditional practices can leave a lasting imprint on the collective psyche. According to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, indigenous communities who have experienced the loss of land, language, and traditional practices due to colonization and cultural erasure have up to 3x higher rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders compared to the general population.


These patterns, rooted in the ancestral experiences of our forebears, are encoded in the very fabric of our nervous systems. Click here to read my blog post on the signs that your body is holding ancestral trauma.


As we inherit these patterns, our own responses to stress and challenge become shaped by the trauma that has been passed down through the generations.


Emotionally, the fear, grief, and sense of powerlessness experienced by our ancestors can become ingrained in our psyche, coloring our own perceptions and reactions to stress. We may find ourselves feeling irrationally anxious or overwhelmed by situations that objectively pose little threat, as our nervous system is primed to respond as our forebears did when faced with traumatic events.


At the physiological level, the nervous system adaptations that our ancestors developed to cope with chronic stress and danger can become hardwired into our own biology. This can manifest in a heightened startle response, difficulty regulating emotions, or a persistent state of hypervigilance – all of which can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health over time.


These inherited patterns become the default mode of operation for our nervous system, shaping our thoughts, behaviors, and even our biochemical responses, often without our conscious awareness. It is as if the ghosts of the past live on within us, constraining our ability to fully inhabit the present and respond to life's challenges with flexibility and resilience.



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